DC (-ISH) STARTUP SPOTLIGHT: MOONLIGHTING

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Whether you’ve been in business yourself as an entrepreneur, been the part of a startup team, or felt the load of the workforce in general, I think we can all agree: an extra helping hand is almost always welcome. But finding the extra help when you need it (and when your team can’t afford to bring someone in permanently) can be a daunting task. In steps (dun, dun, dun)…freelancers! The problem, however, is that a quality, reliable freelancer is kind of like a unicorn in the workforce. You want to believe they exist, and you’re almost certain you saw one with your own eyes once, but you were probably just a little tipsy and delirious at a happy hour that you didn’t have time for, wishing one into existence. Honestly, though, they’re hard to find. You have to know someone that knows someone…and then that someone has to be available to take on your projects. It’s a common pain of businesses everywhere.

A pain that one startup, called Moonlighting, aims to alleviate. Moonlighting is an app that allows businesses to “hire on their own terms.” It gives teams the option to find freelancers based on needs and location, or post specific needs in an ad-like fashion and let freelancers flock to them. In a manner that’s kind of like Tinder for freelancers, businesses can even start a chat immediately with registered talent, who have been socially verified and have ratings and reviews displayed. The app goes even further, taking out the awkward and sometimes hard-to-coordinate task of payment into account to0, allowing for safe payments for both parties.

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Although Moonlighting is not based in DC, they are based not far from the District in Charlottesville, Virginia – and as such, have garnered a lot of DC’s attention, with features in DC Inno, Founders Nextdoor, The Washington Times,  and more.

As quoted in DC Inno when the company was just gaining traction, Jeff Tennery, the CEO, described the idea behind the app: “It’s Craigslist without the creepiness. Connecting to social media tells you everything about who you’re selecting. The platform lets the people looking for gigs put their best foot forward.” Highlighting the app’s usefulness for both companies and freelancers, Tennery went on to also say “It’s a way to resurrect the classifieds in newspapers,” and “It’s like a Swiss Army Knife for freelancers.”

While the appeal is easy to see for businesses (hunting down the ever elusive unicorn), the draw for freelancers isn’t hard to see, either. The app helps freelancers find clients looking for their skills (a valuable timesaver), as well as offers proposal, invoice, and payment tools to pave the way for getting paid easily – not to mention faster.

A quick peruse through Moonlighting’s marketplace, and businesses can quickly find ready-to-hire talent with specialties such as graphic design, professional photography, writing, web development, content publishing, video editing, and more. Even beyond that, there are some more labor-intensive skills at the ready including painting, demolition, landscaping, and a long list of others.

Listening to Tennery on his episode of “Founders Nextdoor,” it’s easy to understand his reasoning behind starting Moonlighting: he wanted to help people. To Moonlighting today, that means anything from helping people in-between jobs, people looking to supplement fixed income, and people who freelance full-time and are on the prowl for new clientele. So whether you’re at a business that’s in need of some help with design or content, or just a homeowner looking for a reliable someone to put a fresh coat of paint on your walls, perhaps before you go with hit-or-miss Google, you should browse the modern-day yellow pages and support a young, kinda-local business.

 

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